Neil Dewsnip saw his team cruise into the Toulon Tournament semi-final in style on Thursday evening, with a 7-1 victory over Cuba.
A hat-trick from George Hirst, a brace from Harvey Barnes and further strikes from David Brooks and Martell Taylor-Crossdale in Salon de Provence made it two wins from two in the group stage, as the Young Lions became the first nation to seal a place in the knock-out stages.
- The Toulon Tournament
- Thursday 1 June 2017
- Stade d'Honneur, Salon de Provence
And with a third and final group match still to come when England face Japan on Sunday, Dewsnip was left purring by his side’s killer edge.
“To beat anybody by six clear goals is very impressive at any standard so to do it in the Toulon Tournament, we’re delighted,” he said.
“We’ve seen the players in training and they can be clinical and sometimes not so much, but it was good to see them like that tonight.
“But we have a tough game against Japan still to play, so we will prepare properly and try to maintain our momentum going into the semi-final after that.”
With a busy summer of tournament football for the Young Lions, with the U20s currently at a World Cup in Korea and both the U19s and U21s preparing for their own Euro Finals, Dewsnip has taken charge of a mixed age group squad for the annual trip to Toulon.
But he’s been impressed with the way that they’ve all bonded so far in southern France, both on and off the pitch.
“We have a strange group in that it’s a mixture of some U20s, some U19s and maybe half of the U18s boys,” he explained.
“So we’ve had a short period of time to prepare and get to know each other, which we’ve done quite well and winning the first two games is lovely and helps in that respect.
“The aim of the first few days was to get to know one another and they do know one another because they play against each other back home, but it’s not a squad which has been together since U15 and U16 level.
“So we’ve done a lot of team building exercises and fun games and so far, so good.”
Sunday’s game with Japan takes place at 4pm at the Stade de Lattre in Aubagne. The nations also met in their final group game at last year’s tournament when a Lewis Baker goal secured a 1-0 win for England as they went on to win the competition.